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On Revenues by Xenophon

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Etext prepared by John Bickers, jbickers@templar.actrix.gen.nz.

On Revenues

by Xenophon

Translation by H. G. Dakyns

Xenophon the Athenian was born 431 B.C. He was a
pupil of Socrates. He marched with the Spartans,
and was exiled from Athens. Sparta gave him land
and property in Scillus, where he lived for many
years before having to move once more, to settle
in Corinth. He died in 354 B.C.

Revenues describes Xenophon's ideas to solve the
problem of poverty in Athens, and thus remove an
excuse to mistreat the Athenian allies.


This was typed from Dakyns' series, "The Works of Xenophon," a
four-volume set. The complete list of Xenophon's works (though
there is doubt about some of these) is:

Work Number of books

The Anabasis 7
The Hellenica 7
The Cyropaedia 8
The Memorabilia 4
The Symposium 1
The Economist 1
On Horsemanship 1
The Sportsman 1
The Cavalry General 1
The Apology 1
On Revenues 1
The Hiero 1
The Agesilaus 1
The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians 2

Text in brackets "{}" is my transliteration of Greek text into
English using an Oxford English Dictionary alphabet table. The
diacritical marks have been lost.


A Pamphlet On Revenues


For myself I hold to the opinion that the qualities of the leading
statesmen in a state, whatever they be, are reproduced in the
character of the constitution itself.[1]

[1] "Like minister, like government." For the same idea more fully
expressed, see "Cyrop." VIII. i. 8; viii. 5.

As, however, it has been maintained by certain leading statesmen in
Athens that the recognised standard of right and wrong is as high at
Athens as elsewhere, but that, owing to the pressure of poverty on the
masses, a certain measure of injustice in their dealing with the
allied states[2] could not be avoided; I set myself to discover
whether by any manner of means it were possible for the citizens of
Athens to be supported solely from the soil of Attica itself, which
was obviously the most equitable solution. For if so, herein lay, as I
believed, the antidote at once to their own poverty and to the feeling
of suspicion with which they are regarded by the rest of Hellas.

[2] Lit. "the cities," i.e. of the alliance, {tas summakhidas}.

I had no sooner begun my investigation than one fact presented itself
clearly to my mind, which is that the country itself is made by nature
to provide the amplest resources. And with a view to establishing the
truth of this initial proposition I will describe the physical
features of Attica.

In the first place, the extraordinary mildness of the climate is
proved by the actual products of the soil. Numerous plants which in
many parts of the world appear as stunted leafless growths are here
fruit-bearing. And as with the soil so with the sea indenting our
coasts, the varied productivity of which is exceptionally great. Again
with regard to those kindly fruits of earth[3] which Providence
bestows on man season by season, one and all they commence earlier and
end later in this land. Nor is the supremacy of Attica shown only in
those products which year after year flourish and grow old, but the
land contains treasures of a more perennial kind. Within its folds
lies imbedded by nature an unstinted store of marble, out of which are
chiselled[4] temples and altars of rarest beauty and the glittering
splendour of images sacred to the gods. This marble, moreover, is an
obejct of desire to many foreigners, Hellenes and barbarians alike.
Then there is land which, although it yields no fruit to the sower,
needs only to be quarried in order to feed many times more mouths than
it could as corn-land. Doubtless we owe it to a divine dispensation
that our land is veined with silver; if we consider how many
neighbouring states lie round us by land and sea and yet into none of
them does a single thinnest vein of silver penetrate.

[3] Lit. "those good things which the gods afford in their seasons."

[4] Or, "arise," or "are fashioned."

Indeed it would be scarcely irrational to maintain that the city of
Athens lies at the navel, not of Hellas merely, but of the habitable
world. So true is it, that the farther we remove from Athens the
greater the extreme of heat or cold to be encountered; or to use
another illustration, the traveller who desires to traverse the
confines of Hellas from end to end will find that, whether he voyages
by sea or by land, he is describing a circle, the centre of which is

[5] See "Geog. of Brit. Isles." J. R. and S. A. Green, ch. i. p. 7:
"London, in fact, is placed at what is very nearly the geometrical
centre of those masses of land which make up the earth surface of
the globe, and is thus more than any city of the world the natural
point of convergence for its different lines of navigation," etc.
The natural advantages of Boeotia are similarly set forth by
Ephorus. Cf. Strab. ix. 2, p. 400.

Once more, this land though not literally sea-girt has all the
advantages of an island, being accessible to every wind that blows,
and can invite to its bosom or waft from its shore all products, since
it is peninsular; whilst by land it is the emporium of many markets,
as being a portion of the continent.

Lastly, while the majority of states have barbarian neighbours, the
source of many troubles, Athens has as her next-door neighbours
civilised states which are themselves far remote from the barbarians.


All these advantages, to repeat what I have said, may, I believe, be
traced primarily to the soil and position of Attica itself. But these
natural blessings may be added to: in the first place, by a careful
handling of our resident alien[1] population. And, for my part, I can
hardly conceive of a more splendid source of revenue than lies open in
this direction. Here you have a self-supporting class of residents
confering large benefits upon the state, and instead of receiving
payment[2] themselves, contributing on the contrary to the gain of the
exchequer by the sojourners' tax.[3] Nor, under the term careful
handling, do I demand more than the removal of obligations which,
whilst they confer no benefit on the state, have an air of inflicting
various disabilities on the resident aliens.[4] And I would further
relieve them from the obligation of serving as hoplites side by side
with the citizen proper; since, beside the personal risk, which is
great, the trouble of quitting trades and homesteads is no trifle.[5]
Incidentally the state itself would benefit by this exemption, if the
citizens were more in the habit of campaigning with one another,
rather than[6] shoulder to shoulder with Lydians, Phrygians, Syrians,
and barbarians from all quarters of the world, who form the staple of
our resident alien class. Besides the advantage [of so weeding the
ranks],[7] it would add a positive lustre to our city, were it
admitted that the men of Athens, her sons, have reliance on themselves
rather than on foreigners to fight her battles. And further, supposing
we offered our resident aliens a share in various other honourable
duties, including the cavalry service,[8] I shall be surprised if we
do not increase the goodwill of the aliens themselves, whilst at the
same time we add distinctly to the strength and grandeur of our city.

[1] Lit. "metics" or "metoecs."

[2] {misthos}, e.g. of the assembly, the senate, and the dicasts.

[3] The {metoikion}. See Plat. "Laws," 850 B; according to Isaeus, ap.
Harpocr. s.v., it was 12 drachmae per annum for a male and 6
drachmae for a female.

[4] Or, "the class in question." According to Schneider (who cites the
{atimetos metanastes} of Homer, "Il." ix. 648), the reference is
not to disabilities in the technical sense, but to humiliating
duties, such as the {skaphephoria} imposed on the men, or the
{udriaphoria} and {skiadephoria} imposed on their wives and
daughters in attendance on the {kanephoroi} at the Panathenaic and
other festival processions. See Arist. "Eccles." 730 foll.;
Boeckh, "P. E. A." IV. x. (Eng. tr. G. Cornewall Lewis, p. 538).

[5] Or, reading {megas men gar o agon, mega de kai to apo ton tekhnon
kai ton oikeion apienai}, after Zurborg ("Xen. de Reditibus
Libellus," Berolini, MDCCCLXXVI.), transl. "since it is severe
enough to enter the arena of war, but all the worse when that
implies the abandonment of your trade and your domestic concerns."

[6] Or, "instead of finding themselves brigaded as nowadays with a
motley crew of Lydians," etc.

[7] Zurborg, after Cobet, omits the words so rendered.

[8] See "Hipparch." ix. 3, where Xenophon in almost identical words
recommends that reform.

In the next place, seeing that there are at present numerous building
sites within the city walls as yet devoid of houses, supposing the
state were to make free grants of such land[9] to foreigners for
building purposes in cases where there could be no doubt as to the
respectability of the applicant, if I am not mistaken, the result of
such a measure will be that a larger number of persons, and of a
better class, will be attracted to Athens as a place of residence.

[9] Or, "offer the fee simple of such property to."

Lastly, if we could bring ourselves to appoint, as a new government
office, a board of guardians of foreign residents like our Guardians
of Orphans,[10] with special privileges assigned to those guardians
who should show on their books the greatest number of resident aliens
--such a measure would tend to improve the goodwill of the class in
question, and in all probability all people without a city of their
own would aspire to the status of foreign residents in Athens, and so
further increase the revenues of the city.[11]

[10] "The Archon was the legal protector of all orphans. It was his
duty to appoint guardians, if none were named in the father's
will."--C. R. Kennedy, Note to "Select Speeches of Demosthenes."
The orphans of those who had fallen in the war (Thuc. ii. 46) were
specially cared for.

[11] Or, "help to swell the state exchequer."


At this point I propose to offer some remarks in proof of the
attractions and advantages of Athens as a centre of commercial
enterprise. In the first place, it will hardly be denied that we
possess the finest and safest harbourage for shipping, where vessels
of all sorts can come to moorings and be laid up in absolute
security[1] as far as stress of weather is concerned. But further than
that, in most states the trader is under the necessity of lading his
vessel with some merchandise[2] or other in exchange for his cargo,
since the current coin[3] has no circulation beyond the frontier. But
at Athens he has a choice: he can either in return for his wares
export a variety of goods, such as human beings seek after, or, if he
does not desire to take goods in exchange for goods, he has simply to
export silver, and he cannot have a more excellent freight to export,
since wherever he likes to sell it he may look to realise a large
percentage on his capital.[4]

[1] Reading {adeos} after Cobet, or if {edeos}, transl. "in perfect

[2] Or, "of exchanging cargo for cargo to the exclusion of specie."

[3] I.e. of the particular locality. See "The Types of Greek Coins,"
Percy Gardner, ch. ii. "International Currencies among the

[4] Or, "on the original outlay."

Or again, supposing prizes[5] were offered to the magistrates in
charge of the market[6] for equitable and speedy settlements of points
in dispute[7] to enable any one so wishing to proceed on his voyage
without hindrance, the result would be that far more traders would
trade with us and with greater satisfaction.

[5] Cf. "Hiero," ix. 6, 7, 11; "Hipparch." i. 26.

[6] {to tou emporiou arkhe}. Probably he is referring to the
{epimeletai emporiou} (overseers of the market). See Harpocr.
s.v.; Aristot. "Athenian Polity," 51.

[7] For the sort of case, see Demosth. (or Deinarch.) "c. Theocr."
1324; Zurborg ad loc.; Boeckh, I. ix. xv. (pp. 48, 81, Eng. tr.)

It would indeed be a good and noble institution to pay special marks
of honour, such as the privilege of the front seat, to merchants and
shipowners, and on occasion to invite to hospitable entertainment
those who, through something notable in the quality of ship or
merchandise, may claim to have done the state a service. The
recipients of these honours will rush into our arms as friends, not
only under the incentive of gain, but of distinction also.

Now the greater the number of people attracted to Athens either as
visitors or as residents, clearly the greater the development of
imports and exports. More goods will be sent out of the country,[8]
there will be more buying and selling, with a consequent influx of
money in the shape of rents to individuals and dues and customs to the
state exchequer. And to secure this augmentation of the revenues, mind
you, not the outlay of one single penny; nothing needed beyond one or
two philanthropic measures and certain details of supervision.[9]

[8] See Zurborg, "Comm." p. 24.

[9] See Aristot. "Pol." iv. 15, 3.

With regard to the other sources of revenue which I contemplate, I
admit, it is different. For these I recognise the necessity of a
capital[10] to begin with. I am not, however, without good hope that
the citizens of this state will contribute heartily to such an object,
when I reflect on the large sums subscribed by the state on various
late occasions, as, for instance, when reinforcements were sent to the
Arcadians under the command of Lysistratus,[11] and again at the date
of the generalship of Hegesileos.[12] I am well aware that ships of
war are frequently despatched and that too[13] although it is
uncertain whether the venture will be for the better or for the worse,
and the only certainty is that the contributor will not recover the
sum subscribed nor have any further share in the object for which he
gave his contribution.[14]

[10] "A starting-point."

[11] B.C. 366; cf. "Hell." VII. iv. 3.

[12] B.C. 362; cf. "Hell." VII. v. 15. See Grote, "H. G." x. 459;
Ephor. ap. Diog. Laert. ii. 54; Diod. Sic. xv. 84; Boeckh, ap. L.
Dindorf. Xenophon's son Gryllus served under him and was slain.

[13] Reading {kai tauta toutout men adelou ontos}, after Zurborg.

[14] Reading {[uper] on an eisenegkosi} with Zurborg. See his note,
"Comm." p. 25.

But for a sound investment[15] I know of nothing comparable with the
initial outlay to form this fund.[16] Any one whose contribution
amounts to ten minae[17] may look forward to a return as high as he
would get on bottomry, of nearly one-fifth,[18] as the recipient of
three obols a day. The contributor of five minae[19] will on the same
principle get more than a third,[20] while the majority of Athenians
will get more than cent per cent on their contribution. That is to
say, a subscription of one mina[21] will put the subscriber in
possession of nearly double that sum,[22] and that, moreover, without
setting foot outside Athens, which, as far as human affairs go, is as
sound and durable a security as possible.

[15] "A good substantial property."

[16] Or, "on the other hand, I affirm that the outlay necessary to
form the capital for my present project will be more remunerative
than any other that can be named." As to the scheme itself see
Grote, "Plato," III. ch. xxxix.; Boeckh, op. cit. (pp. 4, 37, 136,
600 seq. Eng. tr.) Cf. Demosth. "de Sym." for another scheme, 354
B.C., which shows the "sound administrative and practical
judgment" of the youthful orator as compared with "the benevolent
dreams and ample public largess in which Xenophon here indulges."
--Grote, op. cit. p. 601.

[17] L40:12:4 = 1000 drachmae.

[18] I.e. exactly 18 or nearly 20 per cent. The following table will
make the arithmetic clear:--

6 ob. = 1 drachma 10 minae = 6000 ob.
100 dr. = 1 mina = 1000 dr.
600 ob. = 1 mina 1000 dr.:180 dr.::100:18 therefore nearly 1/5
3 ob. (a day) x 360 = 1080 ob. p.a. = nearly 20 per cent.
= 180 dr. p.a.

As to the 3 obols a day (= 180 dr. p.a.) which as an Athenian
citizen he is entitled to, see Grote, op. cit. p. 597: "There will
be a regular distribution among all citizens, per head and
equally. Three oboli, or half a drachma, will be allotted daily to
each, to poor and rich alike" [on the principle of the Theorikon].
"For the poor citizens this will provide a comfortable
subsistence, without any contribution on their part; the poverty
now prevailing will thus be alleviated. The rich, like the poor,
receive the daily triobolon as a free gift; but if they compute it
as interest for their investments, they will find that the rate of
interest is full and satisfactory, like the rate on bottomry."
Zurborg, "Comm." p. 25; Boeckh, op. cit. IV. xxi. (p. 606, Eng.
tr.); and Grote's note, op. cit. p. 598.

[19] = L20:6:3 = 500 drachmae.

[20] = I.e. 36 per cent.

[21] = L4:1:3 = 100 drachmae.

[22] I.e. 180 per cent.

Moreover, I am of opinion that if the names of contributors were to be
inscribed as benefactors for all time, many foreigners would be
induced to contribute, and possibly not a few states, in their desire
to obtain the right of inscription; indeed I anticipate that some
kings,[23] tyrants,[24] and satraps will display a keen desire to
share in such a favour.

[23] Zurborg suggests (p. 5) "Philip or Cersobleptes." Cf. Isocr. "On
the Peace," S. 23.

[24] I.e. despotic monarchs.

To come to the point. Were such a capital once furnished, it would be
a magnificent plan to build lodging-houses for the benefit of
shipmasters in the neighbourhood of the harbours, in addition to those
which exist; and again, on the same principle, suitable places of
meeting for merchants, for the purposes[25] of buying and selling; and
thirdly, public lodging-houses for persons visiting the city. Again,
supposing dwelling-houses and stores for vending goods were fitted up
for retail dealers in Piraeus and the city, they would at once be an
ornament to the state and a fertile source of revenue. Also it seems
to me it would be a good thing to try and see if, on the principle on
which at present the state possesses public warships, it would not be
possible to secure public merchant vessels, to be let out on the
security of guarantors just like any other public property. If the
plan were found feasible this public merchant navy would be a large
source of extra revenue.

[25] Reading, with Zurborg, {epi one te}.


I come to a new topic. I am persuaded that the establishment of the
silver mines on a proper footing[1] would be followed by a large
increase in wealth apart from the other sources of revenue. And I
would like, for the benefit of those who may be ignorant, to point out
what the capacity of these mines really is. You will then be in a
position to decide how to turn them to better account. It is clear, I
presume, to every one that these mines have for a very long time been
in active operation; at any rate no one will venture to fix the date
at which they first began to be worked.[2] Now in spite of the fact
that the silver ore has been dug and carried out for so long a time, I
would ask you to note that the mounds of rubbish so shovelled out are
but a fractional portion of the series of hillocks containing veins of
silver, and as yet unquarried. Nor is the silver-bearing region
gradually becoming circumscribed. On the contrary it is evidently
extending in wider area from year to year. That is to say, during the
period in which thousands of workers[3] have been employed within the
mines no hand was ever stopped for want of work to do. Rather, at any
given moment, the work to be done was more than enough for the hands
employed. And so it is to-day with the owners of slaves working in the
mines; no one dreams of reducing the number of his hands. On the
contrary, the object is perpetually to acquire as many additional
hands as the owner possibly can. The fact is that with few hands to
dig and search, the find of treasure will be small, but with an
increase in labour the discovery of the ore itself is more than
proportionally increased. So much so, that of all operations with
which I am acquainted, this is the only one in which no sort of
jealousy is felt at a further development of the industry.[4] I may go
a step farther; every proprietor of a farm will be able to tell you
exactly how many yoke of oxen are sufficient for the estate, and how
many farm hands. To send into the field more than the exact number
requisite every farmer would consider a dead loss.[5] But in silver
mining [operations] the universal complaint is the want of hands.
Indeed there is no analogy between this and other industries. With an
increase in the number of bronze-workers articles of bronze may become
so cheap that the bronze-worker has to retire from the field. And so
again with ironfounders. Or again, in a plethoric condition of the
corn and wine market these fruits of the soil will be so depreciated
in value that the particular husbandries cease to be remunerative, and
many a farmer will give up his tillage of the soil and betake himself
to the business of a merchant, or of a shopkeeper, to banking or
money-lending. But the converse is the case in the working of silver;
there the larger the quantity of ore discovered and the greater the
amount of silver extracted, the greater the number of persons ready to
engage in the operation. One more illustration: take the case of
movable property. No one when he has got sufficient furniture for his
house dreams of making further purchases on this head, but of silver
no one ever yet possessed so much that he was forced to cry "enough."
On the contrary, if ever anybody does become possessed of an
immoderate amount he finds as much pleasure in digging a hole in the
ground and hoarding it as in the actual employment of it. And from a
wider point of view: when a state is prosperous there is nothing which
people so much desire as silver. The men want money to expend on
beautiful armour and fine horses, and houses, and sumptuous
paraphenalia[6] of all sorts. The women betake themselves to expensive
apparel and ornaments of gold. Or when states are sick,[7] either
through barrenness of corn and other fruits, or through war, the
demand for current coin is even more imperative (whilst the ground
lies unproductive), to pay for necessaries or military aid.

[1] Or, "on a sound basis."

[2] "Exploited."

[3] Or, "at the date when the maximum of hands was employed."

[4] Reading {epikataskeuazumenois}, or, if {episkeuazomenoi}, transl.
"at the rehabilitation of old works."

[5] Cf. "Oecon." xvii. 12.

[6] "The thousand and one embellishments of civil life."

[7] "When a state is struck down with barrenness," etc. See "Mem." II.

And if it be asserted that gold is after all just as useful as silver,
without gainsaying the proposition I may note this fact[8] about gold,
that, with a sudden influx of this metal, it is the gold itself which
is depreciated whilst causing at the same time a rise in the value of

[8] Lit. "I know, however."

The above facts are, I think, conclusive. They encourage us not only
to introduce as much human labour as possible into the mines, but to
extend the scale of operations within, by increase of plant, etc., in
full assurance that there is no danger either of the ore itself being
exhausted or of silver becoming depreciated. And in advancing these
views I am merely following a precedent set me by the state herself.
So it seems to me, since the state permits any foreigner who desires
it to undertake mining operations on a footing of equality[9] with her
own citizens.

[9] Or, "at an equal rent with that which she imposes on her own
citizens." See Boeckh, "P. E. A." IV. x. (p. 540, Eng. tr.)

But, to make my meaning clearer on the question of maintenance, I will
at this point explain in detail how the silver mines may be furnished
and extended so as to render them much more useful to the state. Only
I would premise that I claim no sort of admiration for anything which
I am about to say, as though I had hit upon some recondite discovery.
Since half of what I have to say is at the present moment still patent
to the eyes of all of us, and as to what belongs to past history, if
we are to believe the testimony of our fathers,[10] things were then
much of a piece with what is going on now. No, what is really
marvellous is that the state, with the fact of so many private persons
growing wealthy at her expense, and under her very eyes, should have
failed to imitate them. It is an old story, trite enough to those of
us who have cared to attend to it, how once on a time Nicias, the son
of Niceratus, owned a thousand men in the silver mines,[11] whom he
let out to Sosias, a Thracian, on the following terms. Sosias was to
pay him a net obol a day, without charge or deduction, for every slave
of the thousand, and be[12] responsible for keeping up the number
perpetually at that figure. So again Hipponicus[13] had six hundred
slaves let out on the same principle, which brought him in a net
mina[14] a day without charge or deduction. Then there was
Philemonides, with three hundred, bringing him in half a mina, and
others, I make no doubt there were, making profits in proportion to
their respective resources and capital.[15] But there is no need to
revert to ancient history. At the present moment there are hundreds of
human beings in the mines let out on the same principle.[16] And given
that my proposal were carried into effect, the only novelty in it is
that, just as the individual in acquiring the ownership of a gang of
slaves finds himself at once provided with a permanent source of
income, so the state, in like fashion, should possess herself of a
body of public slaves, to the number, say, of three for every Athenian
citizen.[17] As to the feasability of our proposals, I challenge any
one whom it may concern to test the scheme point by point, and to give
his verdict.

[10] Reading {para ton pateron}, with Zurborg, after Wilamowitz-

[11] See "Mem." II. v. 2; Plut. "Nicias," 4; "Athen." vi. 272. See an
important criticism of Boeckh's view by Cornewall Lewis,
translation of "P. E. A." p. 675 foll.

[12] Reading {parekhein}, or if {pareikhen}, transl. "whilst he
himself kept up the number." See H. hagen in "Journ. Philol." x.
19, pp. 34-36; also Zurborg, "Comm." p. 28.

[13] Son of Callias.

[14] = L4:1:3 = 600 ob.

[15] Or, "whose incomes would vary in proportion to their working

[16] See Jebb, "Theophr." xxvi. 21.

[17] According to the ancient authorities the citizens of Athens
numbered about 21,000 at this date, which would give about 63,000
as the number of state-slaves contemplated for the purposes of the
scheme. See Zurborg, "Comm." p. 29. "At a census taken in B.C. 309
the number of slaves was returned at 400,000, and it does not seem
likely that there were fewer at any time during the classical
period."--"A Companion to School Classics" (James Gow), p. 101,
xiii. "Population of Attica."

With regard to the price then of the men themselves, it is obvious
that the public treasury is in a better position to provide funds than
any private individuals. What can be easier than for the Council[18]
to invite by public proclamation all whom it may concern to bring
their slaves, and to buy up those produced? Assuming the purchase to
be effected, is it credible that people will hesitate to hire from the
state rather than from the private owner, and actually on the same
terms? People have at all events no hesitation at present in hiring
consecrated grounds, sacred victims,[19] houses, etc., or in
purchasing the right of farming taxes from the state. To ensure the
preservation of the purchased property, the treasury can take the same
securities precisely from the lessee as it does from those who
purchase the right of farming its taxes. Indeed, fraudulent dealing is
easier on the part of the man who has purchased such a right than of
the man who hires slaves. Since it is not easy to see how the
exportation[20] of public money is to be detected, when it differs in
no way from private money. Whereas it will take a clever thief to make
off with these slaves, marked as they will be with the public stamp,
and in face of a heavy penalty attached at once to the sale and
exportation of them. Up to this point then it would appear feasible
enough for the state to acquire property in men and to keep a safe
watch over them.[21]

[18] Or, "senate." See Aristot. "Athen. Pol." for the functions of the

[19] So Zurborg. See Demosth. "in Mid." 570; Boeckh, "P. E. A." II.
xii. (p. 212, Eng. tr.) See Arnold's note to "Thuc." iii. 50, 7.

[20] Or, "diversation," "defalcation."

[21] Or, "as far as that goes, then, there is nothing apparently to
prevent the state from acquiring property in slaves, and
safeguarding the property so acquired."

But with reference to an opposite objection which may present itself
to the mind of some one: what guarantee is there that, along with the
increase in the supply of labourers, there will be a corrsponding
demand for their services on the part of contractors?[22] It may be
reassuring to note, first of all, that many of those who have already
embarked on mining operations[23] will be anxious to increase their
staff of labourers by hiring some of these public slaves (remember,
they have a large capital at stake;[24] and again, many of the actual
labourers now engaged are growing old); and secondly, there are many
others, Athenians and foreigners alike, who, though unwilling and
indeed incapable of working physically in the mines, will be glad
enough to earn a livelihood by their wits as superintendents.[25]

[22] Or, "with this influx (multiplying) of labourers there will be a
corresponding increase in the demand for labour on the part of the

[23] Or, "got their mining establishments started."

[24] Or, "of course they will, considering the amount of fixed capital
at stake," or, "since they have large resources at their back." I
have adopted Zurborg's stopping of this sentence.

[25] See "Mem." II. viii. 1, for an illustrative case.

Let it be granted, however, that at first a nucleus of twelve hundred
slaves is formed. It is hardly too sanguine a supposition that out of
the profits alone,[26] within five or six years this number may be
increased to at least six thousand. Again, out of that number of six
thousand--supposing each slave to being in an obol a day clear of all
expenses--we get a revenue of sixty talents a year. And supposing
twenty talents out of this sum laid out on the purchase of more
slaves, there will be forty talents left for the state to apply to any
other purpose it may find advisable. By the time the round number[27]
of ten thousand is reached the yearly income will amount to a hundred

[26] "Out of the income so derived."

[27] Or, "full complement."

As a matter of fact, the state will receive much more than these
figures represent,[28] as any one here will bear me witness who can
remember what the dues[29] derived from slaves realised before the
troubles at Decelea.[30] Testimony to the same effect is borne by the
fact, that in spite of the countless number of human beings employed
in the silver mines within the whole period,[31] the mines present
exactly the same appearance to-day as they did within the recollection
of our forefathers.[32] And once more everything that is taking place
to-day tends to prove that, whatever the number of slaves employed,
you will never have more than the works can easily absorb. The miners
find no limit of depth in sinking shafts or laterally in piercing
galleries. To open cuttings in new directions to-day is just as
possible as it was in former times. In fact no one can take on himself
to say whether there is more ore in the regions already cut into, or
in those where the pick has not yet struck.[33] Well then, it may be
asked, why is it that there is not the same rush to make new cuttings
now as in former times? The answer is, because the people concerned
with the mines are poorer nowadays. The attempt to restart operations,
renew plant, etc., is of recent date, and any one who ventures to open
up a new area runs a considerable risk. Supposing he hits upon a
productive field, he becomes a rich man, but supposing he draws a
blank, he loses the whole of his outlay; and that is a danger which
people of the present time are shy of facing.

[28] Or, "a very much larger sum than we have calculated on." Lit.
"many times over that sum."

[29] Or, "tax." See below, S. 49; for the whole matter see Thuc. vii.
27, vi. 91; Xen. "Mem." III. vi. 12, in reference to B.C. 413,
when Decelea had been fortified. As to the wholesale desertion of
slaves, "more than twenty thousand slaves had deserted, many of
them artisans," according to Thucydides.

[30] Or, "the days of Decelea." Lit. "the incidents of Decelea."

[31] I.e. "of their working since mining began."

[32] Lit. "are just the same to-day as our forefathers recollected
them to be in their time."

[33] Or, "whether the tracts already explored or those not yet opened
are the more prolific."

It is a difficulty, but it is one on which, I believe, I can offer
some practical advice. I have a plan to suggest which will reduce the
risk of opening up new cuttings to a minimum.[34]

[34] Or, "I have a plan to make the opening of new cuttings as safe as

The citizens of Athens are divided, as we all know, into ten tribes.
Let the state then assign to each of these ten tribes an equal number
of slaves, and let the tribes agree to associate their fortunes and
proceed to open new cuttings. What will happen? Any single tribe
hitting upon a productive lode will be the means of discovering what
is advantageous to all. Or, supposing two or three, or possibly the
half of them, hit upon a lode, clearly these several operations will
proportionally be more remunerative still. That the whole ten will
fail is not at all in accordance with what we should expect from the
history of the past. It is possible, of course, for private persons to
combine in the same way,[35] and share their fortunes and minimise
their risks. Nor need you apprehend, sirs, that a state mining
company, established on this principle, will prove a thorn in the
side[36] of the private owner, or the private owner prove injurious to
the state. But rather like allies who render each other stronger the
more they combine,[37] so in these silver mines, the greater number of
companies at work[38] the larger the riches they will discover and

[35] "To form similar joint-stock companies."

[36] See "Cyneg." v. 5.

[37] Or, "deriving strength from combination."

[38] Co-operators.

[39] Reading {ekphoresousi}, after Cobet.

This then is a statement, as far as I can make it clear, of the method
by which, with the proper state organisation, every Athenian may be
supplied with ample maintenance at the public expense. Possibly some
of you may be calculating that the capital[40] requisite will be
enormous. They may doubt if a sufficient sum will ever be subscribed
to meet all the needs. All I can say is, even so, do not dispond. It
is not as if it were necessary that every feature of the scheme should
be carried out at once, or else there is to be no advantage in it at
all. On the contrary, whatever number of houses are erected, or ships
are built, or slaves purchased, etc., these portions will begin to pay
at once. In fact, the bit-by-bit method of proceeding will be more
advantageous than a simultaneous carrying into effect of the whole
plan, to this extent: if we set about erecting buildings wholesale[41]
we shall make a more expensive and worse job of it than if we finish
them off gradually. Again, if we set about bidding for hundreds of
slaves at once we shall be forced to purchase an inferior type at a
higher cost. Whereas, if we proceed tentatively, as we find ourselves
able,[42] we can complete any well-devised attempt at our leisure,[43]
and, in case of any obvious failure, take warning and not repeat it.
Again, if everything were to be carried out at once, it is we, sirs,
who must make the whole provision at our expense.[44] Whereas, if part
were proceeded with and part stood over, the portion of revenue in
hand will help to furnish what is necessary to go on with. But to come
now to what every one probably will regard as a really grave danger,
lest the state may become possessed of an over large number of slaves,
with the result that the works will be overstocked. That again is an
apprehension which we may escape if we are careful not to put into the
works more hands from year to year than the works themselves demand.
Thus[45] I am persuaded that the easiest method of carrying out this
scheme, as a whole, is also the best. If, however, you are persuaded
that, owing to the extraordinary property taxes[46] to which you have
been subjected during the present war, you will not be equal to any
further contributions at present,[47] what you should do is this:[48]
during the current year resolve to carry on the financial
administration of the state within the limits of a sum equivalent to
that which your dues[49] realised before the peace. That done, you are
at liberty to take any surplus sum, whether directly traceable to the
peace itself, or to the more courteous treatment of our resident
aliens and traders, or to the growth of the imports and exports,
coincident with the collecting together of larger masses of human
beings, or to an augmentation of harbour[50] and market dues: this
surplus, I say, however derived, you should take and invest[51] so as
to bring in the greatest revenue.[52]

[40] Or, "sinking fund."

[41] {athrooi}--"in a body." It is a military phrase, I think. In
close order, as it were, not in detachments.

[42] "According to our ability," a favourite Socratic phrase.

[43] {authis}. See for this corrupt passage Zurborg, "Comm." p. 31. He
would insert, "and a little delay will not be prejudicial to our
interests, but rather the contrary," or to that effect, thus: {kai
authis an [anutoimen ou gar toiaute te anabole blaben genesthai
an] emin oiometha} "vel simile aliquid."

[44] Or, "it is we who must bear the whole burthen of the outlay."

[45] {outos}, "so far, unless I am mistaken, the easiest method is the

[46] Or, "heavy contributions, subscriptions incidental to," but the
word {eisphoras} is technical. For the exhaustion of the treasury
see Dem. "Lept." 464; Grote, "H. G."xi. 326.

[47] Or, "you will not be able to subscribe a single penny more."

[48] {umeis de}, you are masters of the situation. It lies with you to
carry on, etc.; {dioikeite} is of course imperative.

[49] Or, "taxes."

[50] Reading, after Zurborg, {dia ta ellimenia}. Or, if the vulg. {dia
en limeni}, transl. "an augmentation of market dues at Piraeus."

[51] I.e. as fixed capital, or, "you should expend on plant."

[52] Or, adopting Zurborg's emend, {os an pleista eggignetai}, transl.
"for the purposes of the present scheme as far as it may be

Again, if there is an apprehension on the part of any that the whole
scheme[53] will crumble into nothing on the first outbreak of war, I
would only beg these alarmists to note that, under the condition of
things which we propose to bring about, war will have more terrors for
the attacking party than for this state. Since what possession I
should like to know can be more serviceable for war than that of men?
Think of the many ships which they will be capable of manning on
public service. Think of the number who will serve on land as infantry
[in the public service] and will bear hard upon the enemy. Only we
must treat them with courtesy.[54] For myself, my calculation is, that
even in the event of war we shall be quite able to keep a firm hold of
the silver mines. I may take it, we have in the neighbourhood of the
mines certain fortresses--one on the southern slope in
Anaphlystus;[55] and we have another on the northern side in Thoricus,
the two being about seven and a half miles[56] apart. Suppose then a
third breastwork were to be placed between these, on the highest point
of Besa, that would enable the operatives to collect into one out of
all the fortresses, and at the first perception of a hostile movement
it would only be a short distance for each to retire into safety.[57]
In the event of an enemy advancing in large numbers they might
certainly make off with whatever corn or wine or cattle they found
outside. But even if they did get hold of the silver ore, it would be
little better to them than a heap of stones.[58] But how is an enemy
ever to march upon the mines in force? The nearest state, Megara, is
distant, I take it, a good deal over sixty miles;[59] and the next
closest, Thebes, a good deal nearer seventy.[60] Supposing then an
enemy to advance from some such point to attack the mines, he cannot
avoid passing Athens; and presuming his force to be small, we may
expect him to be annihilated by our cavalry and frontier police.[61] I
say, presuming his force to be small, since to march with anything
like a large force, and thereby leave his own territory denuded of
troops, would be a startling achievement. Why, the fortified city of
Athens will be much closer the states of the attacking parties than
they themselves will be by the time they have got to the mines. But,
for the sake of argument, let us suppose an enemy to have arrived in
the neighbourhood of Laurium; how is he going to stop there without
provisions? To go out in search of supplies with a detachment of his
force would imply risk, both for the foraging party and for those who
have to do the fighting;[62] whilst, if they are driven to do so in
force each time, they may call themselves besiegers, but they will be
practically in a state of siege themselves.

[53] Or, "the proposed organisation."

[54] See ch. ii. above.

[55] Or, reading {en te pros mesembrian thalatte}, "on the southern
Sea." For Anaphlystus see "Hell." I. ii. 1; "Mem." III. v. 25. It
was Eubulus's deme, the leading statesman at this date.

[56] Lit. "60 stades."

[57] The passage {sunekoi t an erga}, etc., is probably corrupt. {Ta
erga} seems to mean "the operatives;" cf. Latin "operae." Others
take it of "the works themselves." Possibly it may refer to
military works connecting the three fortresses named. "There might
be a system of converging (works or) lines drawn to a single point
from all the fortresses, and at the first sign of any thing
hostile," etc.

[58] I.e. "they might as well try to carry off so many tons of stone."

[59] Lit. "500 stades."

[60] Lit. "more than 600 stades."

[61] The {peripoloi}, or horse patrol to guard the frontier. See Thuc.
iv. 57, viii. 92; Arist. "Birds,"ii. 76. Young Athenians between
eighteen and twenty were eligible for the service.

[62] Or, "for the very object of the contest." The construction is in
any case unusual. {peri on agonizontai} = {peri touton oi}.
Zurborg suggests {peri ton agonizomenon}.

But it is not the income[63] derived from the slaves alone to which we
look to help the state towards the effective maintenance of her
citizens, but with the growth and concentration of a thick population
in the mining district various sources of revenue will accrue, whether
from the market at Sunium, or from the various state buildings in
connection with the silver mines, from furnaces and all the rest.
Since we must expect a thickly populated city to spring up here, if
organised in the way proposed, and plots of land will become as
valuable to owners out there as they are to those who possess them in
the neighbourhood of the capital.

[63] I adopt Zurborg's correction, {prosphora} for {eisphora}, as
obviously right. See above, iv. 23.

If, at this point, I may assume my proposals to have been carried into
effect, I think I can promise, not only that our city shall be
relieved from a financial strain, but that she shall make a great
stride in orderliness and in tactical organisation, she shall grow in
martial spirit and readiness for war. I anticipate that those who are
under orders to go through gymnastic training will devote themselves
with a new zeal to the details of the training school, now that they
will receive a larger maintenance whilst[64] under the orders of the
trainer in the torch race. So again those on garrison duty in the
various fortresses, those enrolled as peltasts, or again as frontier
police to protect the rural districts, one and all will carry out
their respective duties more ardently when the maintenance[64]
appropriate to these several functions is duly forthcoming.

[64] I follow Zurborg in omitting {e}. If {e} is to stand, transl.
"than they get whilst supplied by the gymnasiarch in the torch
race," or "whilst exercising the office of gymnasiarchs
themselves." See "Pol. Ath." i. 13.

[65] "State aid."


But now, if it is evident that, in order to get the full benefit of
all these sources of revenue,[1] peace is an indispensable condition--
if that is plain, I say, the question suggests itself, would it not be
worth while to appoint a board to act as guardians of peace? Since no
doubt the election of such a magistracy would enhance the charm of
this city in the eyes of the whole world, and add largely to the
number of our visitors. But if any one is disposed to take the view,
that by adopting a persistent peace policy,[2] this city will be shorn
of her power, that her glory will dwindle and her good name be
forgotten throughout the length and breadth of Hellas, the view so
taken by our friends here[3] is in my poor judgment somewhat
unreasonable. For they are surely the happy states, they, in popular
language, are most fortune-favoured, which endure in peace the longest
season. And of all states Athens is pre-eminently adapted by nature to
flourish and wax strong in peace. The while she abides in peace she
cannot fail to exercise an attractive force on all. From the mariner
and the merchant upwards, all seek her, flocking they come; the
wealthy dealers in corn and wine[4] and oil, the owner of many cattle.
And not these only, but the man who depends upon his wits, whose skill
it is to do business and make gain out of money[5] and its employment.
And here another crowd, artificers of all sorts, artists and artisans,
professors of wisdom,[6] philosophers, and poets, with those who
exhibit and popularise their works.[7] And next a new train of
pleasure-seekers, eager to feast on everything sacred or secular,[8]
which may captivate and charm eye and ear. Or once again, where are
all those who seek to effect a rapid sale or purchase of a thousand
commodities, to find what they want, if not at Athens?

[1] Or, "to set these several sources of revenue flowing in full

[2] Cf. "a policy of peace at any price," or, "by persisting for any
length of time in the enjoyment of peace."

[3] {kai outoi ge}. The speaker waves his hand to the quarter of the
house where the anti-peace party is seated.

[4] After Zurborg, I omit {oukh oi eduoinoi}.

[5] Reading {kai ap arguriou}, with Zurborg.

[6] Lit. "Sophists." See Grote, "H. G." viii. lxvii. note, p. 497.

[7] E.g. chorus-trainers, musicians, grammarians, rhapsodists, and

[8] Or, "sacred and profane."

But if there is no desire to gainsay these views--only that certain
people, in their wish to recover that headship[9] which was once the
pride of our city, are persuaded that the accomplishment of their
hopes is to be found, not in peace but in war, I beg them to reflect
on some matters of history, and to begin at the beginning,[10] the
Median war. Was it by high-handed violence, or as benefactors of the
Hellenes, that we obtained the headship of the naval forces, and the
trusteeship of the treasury of Hellas?[11] Again, when through the too
cruel exercise of her presidency, as men thought, Athens was deprived
of her empire, is it not the case that even in those days,[12] as soon
as we held aloof from injustice we were once more reinstated by the
islanders, of their own free will, as presidents of the naval force?
Nay, did not the very Thebans, in return for certain benefits, grant
to us Athenians to exercise leadership over them?[13] And at another
date the Lacedaemonans suffered us Athenians to arrange the terms of
hegemony[14] at our discretion, not as driven to such submission, but
in requital of kindly treatment. And to-day, owing to the chaos[15]
which reigns in Hellas, if I mistake not, an opportunity has fallen to
this city of winning back our fellow-Hellenes without pain or peril or
expense of any sort. It is given to us to try and harmonise states
which are at war with one another: it is given to us to reconcile the
differences of rival factions within those states themselves, wherever

[9] Lit. "her hegemony for the city," B.C. 476.

[10] "And first of all."

[11] See Thuc. i. 96.

[12] B.C. 378. Second confederacy of Delos. See Grote, "H. G." x. 152.

[13] B.C. 375. Cf. "Hell." V. iv. 62; Grote, "H. G." x. 139; Isocr.
"Or." xiv. 20; Diod. Sic. xv. 29.

[14] B.C. 369 (al. B.C. 368). Cf. "Hell." VII. i. 14.

[15] See "Hell."VII. v. 27.

Make it but evident that we are minded to preserve the
independence[16] of the Delphic shrine in its primitive integrity, not
by joining in any war but by the moral force of embassies throughout
the length and breadth of Hellas--and I for one shall not be
astonished if you find our brother Hellenes of one sentiment and eager
under seal of solemn oaths[17] to proceed against those, whoever they
may be, who shall seek[18] to step into the place vacated by the
Phocians and to occupy the sacred shrine. Make it but evident that you
intend to establish a general peace by land and sea, and, if I mistake
not, your efforts will find a response in the hearts of all. There is
no man but will pray for the salvation of Athens next to that of his
own fatherland.

[16] "Autonomy."

[17] See Thuc. v. 18, clause 2 of the Treaty of Peace, B.C. 422-421.

[18] Reading, with Zurborg, {peironto}. Or, if the vulgate
{epeironto}, transl. "against those who sought to step."

Again, is any one persuaded that, looking solely to riches and money-
making, the state may find war more profitable than peace? If so, I
cannot conceive a better method to decide that question than to allow
the mind to revert[19] to the past history of the state and to note
well the sequence of events. He will discover that in times long gone
by during a period of peace vast wealth was stored up in the
acropolis, the whole of which was lavishly expended during a
subsequent period of war. He will perceive, if he examines closely,
that even at the present time we are suffering from its ill effects.
Countless sources of revenue have failed, or if they have still flowed
in, been lavishly expended on a multiplicity of things. Whereas,[20]
now that peace is established by sea, our revenues have expanded and
the citizens of Athens have it in their power to turn these to account
as they like best.

[19] Reading {epanoskopoin}.

[20] Or, "But the moment peace has been restored."

But if you turn on me with the question, "Do you really mean that even
in the event of unjust attacks upon our city on the part of any, we
are still resolutely to observe peace towards that offender?" I answer
distinctly, No! But, on the contrary, I maintain that we shall all the
more promptly retaliate on such aggression in proportion as we have
done no wrong to any one ourselves. Since that will be to rob the
aggressor of his allies.[21]

[21] Reading, after Cobet, {ei medena uparkhoimen adikountes}. Or, if
the vulgate {ei medena parakhoimen adikounta}, transl. "if we can
show complete innocence on our own side."


But now, if none of these proposals be impracticable or even difficult
of execution; if rather by giving them effect we may conciliate
further the friendship of Hellas, whilst we strengthen our own
administration and increase our fame; if by the same means the people
shall be provided with the necessaries of life, and our rich men be
relieved of expenditure on war; if with the large surplus to be
counted on, we are in a position to conduct our festivals on an even
grander scale than heretofore, to restore our temples, to rebuild our
forts and docks, and to reinstate in their ancient privileges our
priests, our senators, our magistrates, and our knights--surely it
were but reasonable to enter upon this project speedily, so that we
too, even in our own day, may witness the unclouded dawn of prosperity
in store for our city.

But if you are agreed to carry out this plan, there is one further
counsel which I would urge upon you. Send to Dodona and to Delphi, I
would beg you, and consult the will of Heaven whether such a provision
and such a policy on our part be truly to the interest of Athens both
for the present and for the time to come. If the consent of Heaven be
thus obtained, we ought then, I say, to put a further question: whose
special favour among the gods shall we seek to secure with a view to
the happier execution of these measures?

And in accordance with that answer, let us offer a sacrifice of happy
omen to the deities so named, and commence the work; since if these
transactions be so carried out with the will of God, have we not the
right to prognosticate some further advance in the path of political
progress for this whole state?

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